Oil on canvas
Framed: 122.5 x 149 x 12 cm (48 1/4 x 58 11/16 x 4 3/4 in.); Unframed: 84 x 111.4 cm (33 1/16 x 43 7/8 in.)
Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.641
A windmill, an important symbol of Dutch identity, can be found in the background of this painting.
Inspired by the native Dutch landscape, Meindert Hobbema specialized in scenes of dense forest growth punctured by winding paths and views toward sunlit clearings that beckon with fertile fields and rustic cottages. Hobbema’s paintings were especially popular among Dutch citizens, who took enormous pride in their land. In addition to nationalistic pride in having recently gained independence from Spain, there was also a profound awareness of the preciousness of land in a low-lying nation, which required dikes, pumps, and constant vigilance to guard against flooding. While the Dutch earned much of their considerable wealth from sea trade, agriculture and livestock were important sources of prosperity.
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